Sports fans in general spend a lot of time talking about what front offices did wrong. More specifically, Bears fans have had a lot to say about Ryan Pace’s moves in the past and in the present. Now, though, it’s time to put the shoe on the other foot, because our own E.J. Snyder recently posed the following question of the writers and WCG: “What is your dream off-season for the Bears in 6 (or 7) total moves?”
E.J. specified that our projected moves should be a combo of re-signing a player (1 move), bringing in free agents (3 moves), and drafting players (3 moves) that “Pace could make that would make each of us ecstatic.” As you’ll see from the responses, a few of us took some liberties with these rules, but the spirit of the question is present in every answer.
One thing about all of our predictions is that while we are each pushing for individual names, what really matters is that Pace needs to go out and acquire actual impact players. The Bears need players who meaningfully contribute in 2018, not “coulda-shoulda-woulda guys,” but players who get results on the field.
Resigning a player
There was the most consistency on this issue, and it should be obvious to most Bears fans which player was the top target for re-signing a player. In the order that the answers came rolling in. Some of us named a price and others tried to get a combo deal in place, but one name came up consistently.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter: Re-sign Kyle Fuller to a 4-year deal worth $24 million, or $6 million on average.
Jacob Infante: Bring back Kyle Fuller on a long term deal.
Josh Sunderbruch: I want him to bring back Fuller in free agency on a reasonable deal (if this isn’t possible, then he needs to replace Fuller in free agency with near-equivalent talent).
Ken Mitchell: Re-up Kyle Fuller long term.
Sam Householder: Re-sign Fuller.
Lester Wiltfong: Re-sign Kyle Fuller - Pace can’t let his young talent always leave. Even though Fuller wasn’t his draft pick, he’s a good player with room to grow still.
Andrew Link: Sign Kyle Fuller for $10M, tender Meredith/Callahan for $7M, and sign Sam Acho for $2M.
Robert Zeglinski: Re-sign Kyle Fuller.
E.J. Snyder: Sign Fuller. He’s too good to let walk. Have to keep your own top performers. Tender both Meredith and Callahan at the R2 level.
So, there you have it. The WCG contributors want Fuller back, and we’d like it if Pace were to lock up Meredith and Callahan while he’s at it.
Bringing in Free Agents
Free agency saw a lot less in the way of consensus. Collectively, we had a long wish list, and a few of us went well past the allotted 3 moves. Let’s chalk that up to an abundance of enthusiasm.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter: Sign Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, and Muhammad Wilkerson.
Jacob Infante: Sign Trey Burton, Paul Richardson and E.J. Gaines.
Josh Sunderbruch: Pace needs to bring in a decent wide receiver at a deal that is fair. Robinson doesn’t excite me in and of himself, but if he comes in at a good price, that’s a good move. Next, he needs to bring in a rotational edge rusher. I mentioned Barwin in November, and I still think he could be a good piece at the right price.
Ken Mitchell: Sign Allen Robinson giving him Markus Wheaton’s money (and millions more, cut Wheaton), give Trey Burton Dion Sims’ money (cut Sims, sign Burton), and sign Malcolm Butler giving him Marcus Cooper’s money and more (cut Cooper), then (BONUS PLAY) re-up Amos & Goldman early.
Sam Householder: Sign Albert Wilson, Conner Barwin, and Jordan Matthews.
Lester Wiltfong: Sign Allen Robinson and Albert Wilson - Wide out problem fixed.
Andrew Link: Pick up Aqib Talib - $12M (for a 7th Rounder), Shaq Barrett - $7M (Depending on tender), DaQuan Jones - $4M, Allen Robinson - $12M, Albert Wilson - $6M, Trey Burton - $7M, Zach Fulton - $6M, Ja’Waun James - $5M, and Jerrick McKinnon - $5M
Robert Zeglinski: Sign Allen Robinson and Zach Fulton; poach away Ja’Waun James from the Dolphins (if cut); and sign Trey Burton, Albert Wilson, and Sign Trent Murphy.
E.J. Snyder: Sign A-Rob (if you can get him, but if not then sign Wilson), Morris Claiborne (and Aaron Colvin if you can), and Shaq Barrett and/or Aaron Lynch.
It’s worth pointing out that a couple of our contributors specified that they were describing the best-possible free agency they saw, as opposed to directly answering the original question. However, Allen Robinson and Trey Burton are obviously popular names, and it looks like we still want some corner and receiver help beyond that, too.
Clearly we have a lot of wants for the draft, but a few names kept popping up, as did a few positions.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter: Draft Quenton Nelson, Cortland Sutton, and Josh Jackson (it’s important to note that E.J.’s question did not do anything to insist on the feasibility of the moves).
Jacob Infante: Draft Quenton Nelson, Sam Hubbard and Keke Coutee.
Josh Sunderbruch: In the draft, I’d love to see Pace manage a successful trade down and still snag an impact player (let’s say Josh Jackson or Mike McGlinchey, but the idea is that I’d like to see him benefit from another team’s desperation). Then, I want an EDGE player. I’m okay with a second-round gamble on a Landry if he falls or someone like Hubbard or Davenport if they are there.
Ken Mitchell: Draft Quinton Nelson, the best receiver on the board at the top of round 2, and Marshall quarterback Chase Litton in the 4th if he’s still there. If not, then Pace should draft the best linebacker on the board. I haven’t watched enough draft stuff to have an opinion on Round 2 wide receivers.
Sam Householder: Draft Quenton Nelson, DJ Moore, and the best available EDGE rusher in Round 4. I have no idea who that might be, but I do like that UCF kid because something tells me he will be a good value where the NFL overlooks his lack of a hand.
Lester Wiltfong: Trade back and draft Marcus Davenport (OLB), Harold Landry (OLB) and D.J. Chark (WR). I like the idea of double dipping at outside linebacker and Davenport and Landry would provide some juice off the edge. Chark may have moved too high up the draft boards after having a ridiculous combine, but we’re talking dream scenario after picking up extra picks on a trade back, so deal with it.
Andrew Link: Trade Howard and a 6th for a 3rd. Trading down in Round 1 is the #1 option, but if there are no takers then Pace should take the best athlete/player available (which is likely to be Tremaine Edmunds). Target an Edge rusher in the 2nd like sweat. In Rounds 3, 4, 4, and 5, Pace should take WR, CB, RB (I like Ballage and Freeman a lot), and an OT.
Combined with the free agency moves, this is Game. Set. Match. The Bears are fighting for a playoff spot.
Robert: No specific draft reply, as he was focusing on free agency.
E.J. Snyder: Trade back if possible and pick up an extra Round 2 pick or a Round 3 pick. Draft Harold Landry in Round 1. Draft a wide receiver in Round 2—Sutton (if they got Wilson in FA) or Moore/Washington (if they got A-Rob) and guard (Hernandez if you’re redonkulously lucky or Isaiah Wynn?) in Round 2. After that, Pace should get CB, DE and ILB help depending on how FA went.
So, those are our favorite moves, and what it would take to make each of us ecstatic with Pace’s decision-making. Let us know your thoughts below...